If you are a foodie, do you indulge your sweet tooth by buying foodie chick lit books?
This genre is becoming increasingly popular. Browse the shelves of your local bookshop, or any big supermarket's book ailse, and there will be dozens of titles along the lines of Christmas at the Cornish Cafe, The Grand Reopening of the Dandelion cafe, The beach cafe, The canal boat cafe, The cafe by the sea, The Lemon Tree cafe, Meet me at the Cupcake cafe etc etc - the list is endless).
There is clearly a big demand and supply for this genre.
My personal obsession is books set in Cornwall.
Just mention Cornwall in the blurb or in the title...
I got a paperback copy of The Little Cornish Kitchen by Jane Linfoot in Sainsbury's for £2.99, and then decided to join in the blog tour.
The book starts with a busy scene of the launch of a cosmetics range, full on with the gin and vodka in tea cups and mountains of pretty macaroons. Clemmie is helping one of her bosom friends from childhood, the golden girl Sophie, to greet and meet her guests. She is also dressed as a mermaid, with a tulle tail and dried starfish in hair.
Big fashion magazines' names are thrown in, as well as the mention of Kim Kardashian...
The whole scene sounds so chick-lit and Pinky-pie-pink, that I groan inwardly and ask myself, just why did I buy this book. Oh, I know, it's the magic words "Cornish" and "kitchen" that sold it to me. I can never resist a book set in Cornwall, especially if there are recipes inside. Add to that a picture of the cake on the cover, and I'm totally mesmerized.
The main protagonist Clemmie is a globe-trotter. She doesn't want to settle down, but when she has a little break from her job in Paris, she heads home to the seaside village St Aidan in Cornwall.
That I completely understand. Given a chance to live in Paris or Cornwall, I'd avoid the big metropolis and settle in by the seaside.
Her grandma left her a little flat with a view. The original plan was to sell the flat, and go back to Paris. But the charming little flat with the most glorious view of the sea is full of childhood memories. And recipes...
Clemmie's grandma Laura was a talented cook, and she left her not just a flat but also a big basket full of delicious recipes.
Clemmie is not your usual skinny model heroine. In fact, she has a healthy appetite, and has a very sweet tooth. She is happy to scoff the whole contents of the local pastry shop, and doesn't feel any remorse (well, good for her).
Her next door neighbour, who even shares a balcony with her, is a local developer Charlie Hobson. As much as Clemmie loathes his insatiable appetite for her property (he wants to buy her flat), she is attracted to this shark of capitalism for many reasons - he is handsome (if I remember it correctly, he is an epitome of the Cornish James Bond), he has a charming though totally untrained mutt and looks after his Mum's cat and he has a sweet tooth as big as Clemmie's.
Our heroine finds out she needs to come up with a tidy sum of £10,000 by September for the house repairs.
Her bosom buddies come up with an
For me that was the most incredulous part to digest - they all know that the woman can't cook, yet her friends think she can turn into a Nigella in just a matter of days.
Her first efforts border on a total disaster, but under helpful Charlie's tutelage she masters the art of meringues and other sweet treats very fast.
Of course, in real life you would need an intensive patisserie training, which would last weeks or years.
How believable is that?! I know it's a novel, not a real life story, but it still ruffles me.
As far as I know, you need to register your business with the local council for any food operations like cooking and selling food. And needless to say, you need to pay taxes. I know, I know, I need to chill out and just enjoy the beautiful Cornish scenery and mouth-watering food descriptions.
It's the chick lit at its fluffiest. The main love interest is a guy with a sad past (there is a gossip going on that he was jilted, but the reality was way more tragic), who loves animals and who teaches the heroine how to bake meringues and brownies! And he gives her a Smeg mixer as a gift...
And they bake happily ever after...